Welcome back (in time) to October, 1953 – where its a five chart month so we have a bumper crop of new hits on the pop charts to explore:
The songs of October, 1953
“A Dear John Letter” – Jean Shepard / Ferlin Husky
“C’est Si Bon” – Eartha Kitt
“Crying In The Chapel” – June Valli
“Crying In The Chapel” – Orioles
“Crying In The Chapel” – Rex Allen
“Dragnet” – Ray Anthony
“Ebb Tide” – Frank Chacksfield
“Eh Cumpari” – Julius Larosa
“Hey Joe” – Frankie Laine
“I See The Moon” – Mariners
“I’m Walking Behind You” – Eddie Fisher
“In The Mission Of St. Augustine” – Sammy Kaye
“Istanbul Not Constantinople” – Four Lads
“Little Blue Riding Hood” – Stan Freberg
“Many Times” – Eddie Fisher
“My Love My Love” – Joni James
“No Other Love” – Perry Como
“Oh!” – Pee Wee Hunt
“P.S. I Love You” – Hilltoppers
“Rags To Riches” – Tony Bennett
“Richochet” – Teresa Brewer
“St. George And The Dragonet” – Stan Freberg
“The Story Of Three Loves” – Jerry Murad
“The Velvet Glove” – Henri Rene / Hugo Winterhalter
“To Be Alone” – Hilltoppers
“Vaya Con Dios” – Les Paul And Mary Ford
“With These Hands” – Eddie Fisher
“You You You” – Ames Brothers
You can listen to the full playlist on Youtube via this link or embedded below:
This month in history
Some beef between chart toppers made it into the history books this month. On October 19, 1953 Julius La Rosa (currently charting for Sadie fave, “Eh Cumpari”) was fired on air by Arthur Godfrey (who we last saw on these charts in March, 1952). The latter was not only a singer but one of America’s top media personalities with multiple TV and radio shows.
Apparently Godfrey and LaRosa had a dispute in the fall of 1953 when LaRosa, the most popular of the singers who appeared regularly on Godfrey’s show – missed a dance lesson due to a family emergency.
On October 19, 1953, near the end of his morning radio show — deliberately waiting until after the television portion had ended — after lavishing praise on LaRosa in introducing the singer’s performance of “Manhattan”, Godfrey thanked him and then announced that this was LaRosa’s “swan song” with the show, adding, “He goes now, out on his own — as his own star — soon to be seen on his own programs, and I know you’ll wish him godspeed as much as I do”.
LaRosa, who apparently did not know what the phrase “swan song” meant, was incredulous when told he had just been fired. You can see him below in happier times, performing on the show.
What’d Sadie think?
“Vaya Con Dios” by Les Paul And Mary Ford manages to hold one for one more week, after two months at the top. But its swiftly deposed for the rest of the month by newcomer “St. George And The Dragonet” by Stan Freberg.
A very gentle start to the new entries on the charts with Sammy Kaye’s “In The Mission Of St. Augustine” with church bells chiming away no less. Its sweet but nothing great.
Things pick up the pace with “Istanbul Not Constantinople” by the Four Lads. The novelty song was apparently written on the 500th anniversary of the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans… I knew the riff but don’t think I had ever heard the whole thing. Definitely questionable lyrics in today’s world and not as funny as they’d like to think at the time.
But the charts were heavy with comedy this month. Stan Freberg pokes fun at McCarthyism with “Little Blue Riding Hood” where we hear the line, “Only the color has been changed to prevent an investigation.”. It’s a spoken word tale and quite funny at that.
Though the funniest song is Freberg’s other song, and number one hit – “St. George And The Dragonet”. The spoof combines the tale of “St. George and the Dragon” with the popular 1950s radio-TV series Dragnet, “only the needle should be changed…to protect the record”, whose theme is still on the chart. The man knows timing is key to a hit.
Then we’ve got a lovely tune by Eddie Fisher, “Many Times”. Which we have a “remastered” version of in the charts – it definitely helps tracks pop into the new millennium. I try and add the best quality version of a song I can, but i’ll admit some are iffy at best.
“Richochet” is classic Teresa Brewer – speedy sass. And an earworm to boot.
Then we’ve got a pair of instrumentals. Jerry Murad’s, “The Story Of Three Loves” – which is a relaxing harmonica instrumental for a summer evening. And “The Velvet Glove” by Hugo Winterhalter which is a very french sounding number and good for the same.
Our new tunes of the month end with “To Be Alone” by the Hilltoppers – which is just too much spoken word for me, and undelightfully cheesy. Pass!
Now go listen to the full playlist on Youtube via this link.